Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/261

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LIFE AMONG THE APACHES.

into view they halted, formed, and prepared for fight. Newbold and his small party of twelve cavalrymen and twenty-five Apaches advanced rapidly toward the Navajoes until within eighty yards, when the latter opened fire all along their line. This was answered by a closely delivered volley from a dozen carbines, which knocked over nine Navajoes at the first fire. The weather was so extremely cold that although the men found no difficulty in recharging their breech-loading carbines, yet they could not place the caps upon the nipples, their fingers were so benumbed. Fortunately, the Navajoes were in the same dilemma. The order to draw pistols and charge was given, and the allies went down among the Navajoes like a small tornado. In less than ten minutes their line was broken, and the enemy in full retreat.

The Apaches had likewise abandoned the use of their rifles, and betook themselves to their bows and arrows, and lances. The retreat soon became a rout. Each trooper had two first-class Colt's six-shooters, and used them with terrific effect. The moment a Navajo fell he was pierced full of arrows by the Apaches, and never suffered to rise again. The whites took the lead, but their savage allies seconded them with great courage and undaunted gallantry. For an engagement in which so few were present, the slaughter was terrific. No less than ninety Navajoes were stretched dead upon the ground, and so many others wounded that some of the party who afterward surrendered and placed themselves upon the Reservation, informed me that only twenty of the whole Navajo force ever arrived safely in their country. In this very remarkable engagement, neither our troops nor the Apaches lost man nor horse. Sixty-five of the stolen animals were recovered and restored to their owners.